Paraguayan tea is a wonderful drink that tones up, gives vigor and strength, but there is constant debate around it - yerba mate is useful or harmful, tea made from young twigs and foliage of Paraguayan holly.
Mate contains a large dose of caffeine, therefore, discussions are ongoing - some argue that such tea is not addictive, completely harmless and helps to gain strength if necessary. And others say that caffeine in any amount harms the human body, so eating yerba mate is a blow to all internal organs, so it’s better to give it up once and for all.
Let's try to figure out what the benefits of this drink are, and how serious the harm from its use can be.
What does Paraguayan holly look like and where does it grow
The Paraguayan Holly belongs to the Angiosperms department, the Dicotyledon class, and the Hollow family.
This plant is a perennial bush, the foliage of which does not fall all year round, or a tree whose wood is very hard and the bark smooth to the touch has a characteristic white color. Its branches are quite spreading, the crown is pyramidal. Trees grow "slowly", their age is from 50 to 90 years (sometimes up to 100). Individual specimens can reach heights of 90 - 100 meters under appropriate conditions. However, the usual height of such plants growing in the wild is 14 - 16 m. Cultivated holly bushes are subjected to forming pruningso that they have a neat crown with a height of not more than 1.4 - 1.5 m.
Foliage - leathery type, shiny, glossy to the touch, obovate, on the branches grows alternately. Its edges have small notches. Small flowers have 4 petals, their color is white with a greenish tint. Fruits - drupes up to 6 mm in size, reddish in color.
This evergreen shrub grows in South America, main countries of its habitat:
Wild shrubs of this peculiar species are found in the Mediterranean countries, warm regions of the European continent, and in a number of countries in Asia and North America. It usually grows among deciduous and coniferous trees in partial shade or in brightly lit places. The soil moisture for this shrub should be high. In Latin America, shrubs and holly trees are specially cultivated. Particularly famous for the plantations of this plant are some provinces of Brazil, where tens of thousands of hectares are assigned to holly.
These perennial shrubs require for the cultivation of certain climatic conditions - high humidity of air and soil, a sufficiently high air temperature, cold winters. therefore Attempts to cultivate holly in colder regions were unsuccessful.
How to Make Paraguayan Mate Tea
Useful properties of leaves of Paraguayan holly
Studies of the foliage of this shrub were carried out, and it was found that they contain:
- vitamins A, C, group B, E;
- acids: nicotinic, pantothenic, ursolic;
- Mg, Na, Si, K, Mn, Fe, Ca;
- phosphates and many other active substances.
Due to this composition, fresh foliage and dried raw materials have the following medicinal and beneficial properties:
- relieving bouts of fever;
- lowering the temperature;
- excreting sputum;
- normalize sleep;
- fight depression;
- stimulate the central nervous system.
How to brew mate
Not everyone knows how to make this medicinal tea. Many simply pour dry holly leaves into a teapot, pour boiling water, and then drink like regular tea. However, in this case, the amazing taste and aroma of the mate is lost.
This drink is usually brewed in a special bowl: a cup - calabash. Such a mug is shaped like a pear. Drinking mate brewed in such a vessel should be done only through a special "straw" - the "bomb".
Powdered mate is poured into this "pear" so that there is no more than 1/3 of the total volume of the cup free space. Then they cover it with a hand and shake it vigorously, tilt it to the side so that the powder pours to the wall opposite from the hole, and a tube (bombilla) is inserted into the hole. Then the calabash is returned to its original position. And only then water is poured into the mug with a temperature of about 82 degrees (this should not be boiling water) for 2/3 of the volume. The tube hole closes at this moment. Then you need to leave the calabash for a couple of minutes, and only then add hot water almost to the very top.
What is the use of mate tea
Important! In no case should you stir the tea with a tube until it is infused, do not touch the bomb at all until the mate has fully infused.
An exotic drink is infused for 6-7 minutes, then it can be drunk. Powder sprinkled in calabash can be brewed 8-10 times, and the most fragrant and delicious tea is obtained after the fourth brewing.
Beginners do not always exactly follow the instructions for making this medicinal tea, so their mate is not so tasty. The main mistakes when brewing a drink are the following:
- the powder is brewed with boiling water, as a result, the taste of the mate is simply killed, and strong bitterness is added;
- the taste of this drink is self-sufficient, therefore it does not require the addition of sugar, syrups or any spices in it - this is no longer a mate. Recently, however, mate with additives has appeared on sale: zest of lemon or orange, strawberries (or strawberries) or mint;
- the true taste of the drink can be felt only with a third or fourth gulf of water a cup, but this must be done in a row. After an hour - another to do such a procedure is not recommended. A cup and a straw are washed immediately after the tea ceremony, the next time you should fill in a new portion of "tea leaves".
How and from what the Paraguayans make a vessel for mate
More recently, calabash was hollowed out from a small pumpkin, and the bombilla was made from hollow stems of various herbaceous plants. Currently mate cups can be:
- plastic ones.
But for those who are just starting to brew this exotic tea, it is better to purchase glass or ceramic vessels.
Modern bombs are metal tubes, in which, on the one hand, a detachable strainer, and on the other, a special mouthpiece. The removable strainer is very convenient in that it is easy to wash.
How to drink mate
Some do not understand why the bombilla has too small a mouthpiece (or rather, a small hole in it). Fact that this drink should be taken in small sips - only then can you fully appreciate the taste of this exotic tea. And the tube, the length of which is equal to the height of the cup, allows you to start drinking tea from the bottom of the cup, where the drink is more infused than in the upper layers. So throughout the tea party, the taste of mate will be equally saturated.
The use of Paraguayan holly in medicine
In - basically, it is recommended by physicians to consume a drink from holly leaves to raise the general tone of the body, to increase working capacity. A couple of cups of this tea, drunk daily in the morning, will help to overcome depression, mitigate the effects of a stressful situation, strengthen the immune system, and poorly brewed mate eliminates insomnia.
Paraguayan holly in cosmetology
Holly foliage extract has a tonic effect, improves the skin, removes dead skin particles, smoothes fine wrinkles, improves metabolism in the skin, and promotes their rejuvenation.
This drug based on foliage of a medicinal shrub is added to the bathtubs and is used during spa procedures. As a result, the skin of the whole body is saturated with useful substances, circulation improves in the tissues, and excess moisture is removed.
Contraindications and harm to the holly
The harm from the use of mate most often occurs because beginners either brew it incorrectly or drink the resulting drink incorrectly. When brewing powder from holly leaves, carcinogenic substances are released into the drink, which provoke the appearance of malignant cells in the human body. If the mate is not drunk through the bombilla, tooth enamel may deteriorate and darken.
The use of this tea is not recommended for the following categories of people:
- expectant mothers;
- with lactation;
- children under 10 years old;
- if there is a tendency to allergic reactions;
- with kidney disease.
With caution, you should take this drink for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer, with high acidity, if blood pressure is increased, with atherosclerosis.
Properly brewed mate is an exceptional beverage in taste. Therefore, in recent years it has become increasingly popular among true connoisseurs of exotic drinks.